These seeds, used in Indian cooking, have been found to lower blood sugar, increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce high cholesterol, according to several animal and human studies. The effect may be partly due to the seeds’ high fiber content. The seeds also contain an amino acid that appears to boost the release of insulin. In one of the largest studies on fenugreek, 60 people who took 25 grams daily showed significant improvements in blood sugar control and post-meal spikes.
Ilex paraguariensis Yerba mate It has been claimed to have various effects on human health and these effects have been attributed to the high quantity of polyphenols found in mate tea. Mate contains compounds that act as an appetite suppressant, increases mental energy and focus, and improves mood. Yerba mate also contains elements such as potassium, magnesium, and manganese.
When using Aloe you want to be sure not to apply it to any open wounds. Also be careful when processing the leaves. As I mentioned above you want to make use of the clear gel part, and steer clear of the yellow sap that oozes out. While not a big deal when applying to the skin one should be aware of this yellow sap when taking aloe gel orally. This yellow sap is called aloin and if ingested will act as a laxative, if aloin is used for prolonged periods it can lead to depletion of electrolytes and dependence for normal bowl function.
Witch hazel is an interesting herb that I've only recently found out about, it has been used for centuries by the Native Americans though. When I was researching witch hazel I assumed that it got its name for warding off witches or something, but it actually was used as a witching stick for locating underground sources of water and or precious minerals. Witch hazel might not be considered an herb by some due to the fact it is a woody shrub, but it has very strong astringent and antiseptic properties so I just had to include it in the list of herbs along with its uses. Today you can find witch hazel in pretty much any drugstore in the form of witch hazel water (an alcohol extract of the twigs). The only problem with this is that most of the time the extract contains very little of the actual herb, and most of the effects might actually come from the alcohol itself.
^ Vogl S, Picker P, Mihaly-Bison J, Fakhrudin N, Atanasov AG, Heiss EH, Wawrosch C, Reznicek G, Dirsch VM, Saukel J, Kopp B (2013). "Ethnopharmacological in vitro studies on Austria's folk medicine - An unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs". J Ethnopharmacol. 149 (3): 750–71. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007. PMC 3791396. PMID 23770053.
Stachytarpheta cayennensis Blue snakeweed Extracts of the plant are used to ease the symptoms of malaria. The boiled juice or a tea made from the leaves or the whole plant is taken to relieve fever and other symptoms. It is also used for dysentery, pain, and liver disorders. A tea of the leaves is taken to help control diabetes in Peru and other areas. Laboratory tests indicate that the plant has anti-inflammatory properties.
Anyone can claim to be an herbalist, so be sure to look for someone with extensive training. Practitioners of both Traditional Chinese Medicine and ayurvedic medicine rely on herbs for treatment. You may be able to find a knowledgeable practitioner through the American Herbalist Guild. Keep in mind that professional herbalists who advise clients on the use of medicinal herbs are typically not licensed to diagnose or treat disease.
Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects.
Kava has been used by the people of the Pacific islands for hundreds of years as a natural anti-anxiety treatment. It has a very calming effect and puts most people in a good mood. It has also been used as a diuretic and to treat urinary problems, arthritis, asthma and upset stomach. It is very popular in Germany and often prescribed as the first line of treatment for anxiety disorders.
The dandelion is often thought of as a weed due to the fact that it can very easily over run a yard and choke out grass. Dandelions are actually a great herb, they offer plenty of nutritional benefits as well as medicinal, which is why it makes our list of herbs. One great thing about the dandelion herb is that the whole plant can be used from the flower down to the roots. The leaves make a great addition to salads and the flowers (when still yellow) can be eaten raw, cooked or made into a dandelion wine. Even the root of the dandelion can be consumed, usually it is roasted and ate or added to a nice cup of tea. Due to it's good diuretic properties dandelion is also sometimes called piss-a-bed.
One of the best and well known ways to get the benefits of turmeric is to just simply eat it. Maybe not plain but adding it to dishes is a great way. Don't be fooled into thinking that eating turmeric in food is the only way to reap the benefits of this amazing herb. You can use it in teas too, or as a toothpaste you can on occasions dip your tooth brush into some turmeric powder brush it onto your teeth and allow it to sit for about 3 minutes. It won't stain your teeth but the same can't be said for your toothbrush or sink. You can also make a turmeric paste by mixing some of powdered turmeric with a little water and use it topically.